Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says he has sought a clarification from the Electoral Commission about claims that flag voting papers include a crucial mistranslation.

New Zealand First MP Mahesh Bindra said today that Hindi instructions on flag referendum papers told voters to "tick the flag you want to be the new New Zealand flag".

This differed from the English instructions, which told voters to "tick the flag you want to be the New Zealand flag".

Mr Bindra said the translation was misleading to the 100,000 eligible Hindi voters in the referendum.


Speaking to reporters at Parliament, the MP went further, saying that the error was an intentional attempt to influence people into voting for the Prime Minister's choice of flag.

Mr English, who is responsible for the flag referendum process, said he had asked the Electoral Commission about the accuracy of the voting papers.

"You certainly don't want voters in any way confused," he said.

"As I understand it's the same ballot paper ... but the wordings might be different."

He said the ballot papers were "self-explanatory" but if any paper was different "even in a small way" it needed to be investigated.

Asked about speculation that the mistranslation was deliberate, he said: "I think that's grossly overstating it."

Mr English would not comment on how it could affect the flag vote, saying he would wait until the commission reported back.